|Charles Joseph Scharf
Remains Recovered 11/2006
|Location on the Wall:||Panel 02E - Line 101|
|Age at Loss:||44|
|Date of Birth:||20 Mar, 1933|
|Home of Record:||San Diego, CA|
|Date of Loss:||9 Jan, 1966|
|Country of Loss:||North Vietnam|
|Loss Coordinates:||211000N 1043900E|
|Status (in 1973):||Missing in Action|
|Type of Loss:||Hostile, died while missing, Fixed Wing Pilot|
|Reason:||Air Loss, Crash on Land|
|Incident Ref. #:||0158|
On October 1, 1965, Capt. Charles J. Scharf was the pilot of the lead aircraft in a flight of four F4C fighter jets assigned a road reconnaissance mission about 79 miles west-northwest of Hanoi, 15 kilometers from the border of China, near Ban Puoi Airfield. Scharf’s bombardier/navigator was 1Lt. Martin J. Massucci.
During the mission, Scharf radioed that he was hit and was bailing out. One parachute was seen and the plane remained airborne for about 30 seconds prior to impact. Chuck and his backseater were both reported missing in action.
CIA reported to Scharf’s family that he was mentioned in the 1967 East German film, “Pilots in Pajamas,” but Defense Intelligence stated that the photo did not correlate with the name. Chuck’s family has viewed 6 hours of the 8 hour film. Segments of “Pilots in Pajamas” were used in Sylvester Stallone’s documentary, “MIAs, Where Are They?” Barbara Lowerison, Scharf’s sister, says, “When I saw the documentary, there were scenes which led me to believe that Chuck was in that film. I would bet my life on it!”
Lowerison says, “I, as a sister, cannot and will not give up hope. I strongly believe that we do have live men detained against their will in Communist controlled environments. I urge our government to pursue the release of each and every one of these men and to urge the release of all remains. It is the legal and moral responsibility of the U.S. Government to protect and stand up for American fighting men.”
Charles J. Scharf was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Martin J. Massucci to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained missing in action.
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1145-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 09, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Air Force Pilot Missing in Action from Vietnam War is Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. Air Force officer missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Col. Charles J. Scharf of San Diego. His funeral is scheduled for Nov. 30 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.
Col Scharf and a fellow crew member took off in their F-4C Phantom IIs from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand on October 1, 1965. Their mission was to attack an enemy concentration and a major highway in North Vietnam. After the lead aircraft developed problems en route, Scharf assumed the lead of the two other F-4s in the flight. After he completed
two bombing runs, Scharf’s aircraft was hit by enemy fire. His radio transmission of “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” was heard by the other two aircraft. One radioed “Gator 3 (Scharf’s call sign), you’re on fire, you’d better get out! Bail out, Gator 3!” Scharf’s plane began to disintegrate and a parachute was seen leaving the aircraft.
The other two aircraft lost sight of the parachute, and circled the area for about 10 minutes where Scharf’s aircraft had crashed and burned but no radio or visual contact was made then nor in subsequent aerial search and rescue operations.
In January 1990, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) provided information to U.S. officials indicating two men were buried near their crash site, but that one had been washed away during flooding. Within a month, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed three witnesses to the crash and located scattered wreckage at the site. The 1992 excavation of that site yielded human remains, a dental prosthesis, numerous personal effects including the rank insignia of Scharf’s fellow crewman.
A second joint excavation in 1993 recovered additional artifacts, but no remains.
A third excavation in 2004 recovered additional evidence including pilot-related life-support artifacts, a metal captain’s insignia (Scharf’s rank at the time) and a plastic denture tooth.
Among dental records and other forensic tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) also attempted to use mitochondrial DNA from a known maternal relative to establish the identification. However, the tests were inconclusive.
From Scharf’s widow, they obtained a number of envelopes containing letters he had sent to her during the war. AFDIL specialists were able to extract mitochondrial DNA from the gummed adhesive on those envelopes, and JPAC was able to confirm the identification. JPAC’s detailed analysis of the debris and other evidence concluded that the parachute sighted was the F-4C’s drag parachute.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site or call (703) 699-1169.
The Colonel C.J. Scharf Story (part 1)
The Colonel C.J. Scharf Story (part 2)
Colonel Scharf funeral at Arlington National Cemetery
Extended Remarks, an article by the Col.’s brother-in-law, John Carey